Monday, October 20, 2008

a moment of your time

today i was reflecting on the moment. being in the moment, the moment being all there is, can be a very buddhist philosophy, but 'live for now' also seems to be the mantra of instant gratification, fuck the rest of yiz, i'll do whatever i want selfishness and, often, violence and destructiveness. sometimes it's carpe diem and be here now, other times it's throw it all away and let other people pick up the pieces. neither necessarily 'wrong', but an apparently similar view, used to wildly differing ends. it struck me that being in the moment while aware of its position in the sweep of history and the arc of the future is an interesting approach instead. there is a usually ignored recognition of the importance of history - those who forget it are condemned to repeat it - but scifi artists and writers, some of the few who focus on the future, are often marginalised - indeed, literature that is set in the future is for some people the definition of scifi - as if no other kind of writing can deal with the future as its subject. recently what's started to change is that the concern with climate change has led to more and different analyses of the future, including 'discounting' for losses caused to future people, debates over how that should be done, and greater interest in the nature of irreplaceable assets, particularly natural resources, often fossil fuels but occasionally allowing a widening out into greater awareness of old trees, old growth forest, and other ecosystems built up over years, centuries and millennia. sustainability is in some ways at the forefront of an explicit acknowledgement of the future as worthy of consideration for how we live now - including in one definition of sustainability - "meeting the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs." it strikes me that feeling,thinking and being oneself in this moment in past and future is a powerful idea - not an original one, of course - but one that certainly feels powerful. despite heisenberg and his uncertainty principle, which if i'm correct states that one cannot know both the current position and the direction a particle is heading or has come from. we don't know, really, where this moment, has been, or where it's going, but having some idea that it has been and will go, can help us make sense of now.


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